This macaroni and cheese is as warm as a hug. It will comfort when it’s cold, rainy and dark outside. Use your favourite cheeses and if it’s really cold use as many different cheeses as you want. A three cheese night, a four cheese night.
We like to serve the mac with a peppery salad, maybe with some rocket with pomegranate seeds thrown through and a mustardy vinaigrette. There is a tree in a neighbour’s yard I pass each day, heavy with fruit. They’re so ripe they’re splitting open, revealing their jewelled interiors for anyone to see.
The rye crumb makes a beautiful savoury crust and Sarah and I sometimes make the mac and cheese in little ovenproof dishes (like the one in the photograph) to maximise crunch. Such a good texture contrast to the creamy interior.
Macaroni & Cheese
250g macaroni cooked to ‘al dente’ and rinsed
50g organic good quality unsalted butter
80g plain flour
2 1/2 cups milk
pepper, freshly ground
50g best quality Parmesan cheese, grated finely
50g Fontina or Gruyere or Provolone, grated finely (depending on your favourites)
1/2 loaf of rye bread, blitzed to crumbs in a food processor
2 tbsp Parmesan, grated
1tbsp olive oil
1tsp salt flakes
Preheat your oven at 180C.
Warm the milk to just above room temperature and set aside. Melt the butter in a heavy based saucepan and add the flour.
Stir with a wooden spoon over the heat until in starts to come together in one smooth lump that leaves the sides of the pan. Stir over heat until golden. Add the warm milk to your ‘roux’ (flour and butter mixture) a little at a time and be sure to beat well after each addition. The mixture should be smooth and have no lumps once you have added and stirred through all the milk. If the mix looks too thick, add some more milk. You want it to be of a thick custardy consistency.
Add freshly grated pepper and the 50g of each cheese and stir well until the cheese is melted in to the sauce. Set the cheese sauce aside. Season to taste with salt.
In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, additional Parmesan oil and salt and stir until evenly combined.
Pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni, making sure you give it a stir so the macaroni is all covered in sauce. Put the mixture into a shallow ovenproof dish. Sprinkle the macaroni with the crust mixture.
Place your mac n cheese in the oven and cook for 15 minutes or until the crust is golden and crunchy and your mac is warmed through.